Marise Payne: Take a stand against political persecution, bring Zara Kay home now!

Marise Payne: Take a stand against political persecution, bring Zara Kay home now!

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Act now or be complicit 

Hon Marise Payne MP, we urge you to intervene immediately on behalf of Australian citizen and women’s rights advocate Zara Kay.

Tanzanian authorities have used wrongful detainment and spurious charges in a clear attempt to silence Ms. Kay, who is a prominent ex-Muslim and advocate for women who have suffered abuse for leaving Islam.

On the 28th of December 2020, Ms. Kay was summoned by Tanzanian authorities to the Dar es-Salaam Oyster Bay Police Station. Ms. Kay’s passport was confiscated and she was detained for 32 hours without being given a clear indication of the charges against her. During this time, Ms. Kay was asked about her decision to leave Islam as well as the work of her organisation, Faithless Hijabi. Ms. Kay was released on bail on the 29th of December 2020 and has been formally charged.

The charges against Ms. Kay are as follows:

1) Creating satirical social media posts which were deemed to be critical of the Tanzanian President. Zara created these posts whilst still residing in London. They were in reference to the Tanzanian government’s handling of the COVID-19 virus.

2) Not returning her Tanzanian passport after she obtained Australian citizenship. Ms. Kay did not return her passport because she misplaced it and never used it after getting her Australian citizenship.

3) Using a SIM card that was not registered in her name. The SIM card was registered to a family member of Ms. Kay. SIM-card legislation has been used as a means of persecution in other high-profile cases, including that of Tanzanian comedian Idris Sultan.

Being the target of political persecution has left Ms. Kay traumatised and has exacerbated her underlying health conditions. Ms. Payne, as both the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Women it is incumbent upon you to act immediately before further damage is done. You must send a message that Australia will not tolerate censorship, injustice, or persecution. 

We, the signatories of this petition, believe that the confiscation of Ms. Kay’s passport and the politically motivated charges against her amount to persecution and are clear violations of her right to freedom of expression. We urge the Department of Foreign Affairs to ensure Ms. Kay’s safe return to Australia and demand that it does everything in its power to get the persecutory charges against Ms. Kay dropped.

Stand up for free expression and the rights of all women, stop the Tanzanian government’s persecution of Zara Kay and bring her home safe.

 

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